The National Zoo covers a large area. It takes several hours to see all of our animals and exhibits—more if you stop for lunch or a snack, spend extra time in an area of special interest, or talk with a keeper or interpreter.

We suggest that visitors, especially first-time visitors, take a few moments to plan their visit either before they arrive or when they first enter the Zoo. We offer many online resources to help you plan.

How to Get to the Zoo
We encourage visitors to take public transportation to the Zoo. You'll save natural resources and reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. If you plan to drive, be sure to see our information about parking.

Where Are Some Highlights?
We hope our visitors see all of our animals, but if you are short on time, some highlights include our giant pandas, Mei Xiang, Tian Tian, and their cub, Tai Shan, at the Fujifilm Giant Panda Habitat; our Asian elephant calf, Kandula; our three Sumatran tiger cubs; and many exhibits, including Amazonia, Small Mammals, and Invertebrates. Find out what other animals we have and where you can find them.

Asia Trail, a new series of wonderful habitats for seven Asian species, is now open. more

click to Download a free audio tour of Asia Trail from Fujifilm.

Review the Zoo Map
Look at our online Zoo map and plot your route through the Zoo so you don't miss any favorite animals. If you drive to the Zoo and arrive early, you may be able to park in the lot nearest the animals and exhibits you want to see first. Choose a meeting place in case someone gets separated from your group. PDFPrint a guide for visitors with young children.

Check Our Calendar
See what programs are going on the day you'll be visiting. Also, check out our calendar to see what special events are happening when you plan to visit. Or you might want to plan your visit to coincide with one of our celebrations or events. A few times each year, the Zoo closes early to prepare for a special event.

Dress for the Weather and Terrain
While many of our animals are always or usually in indoor exhibits, many others, including giant pandas, other bears, seals, and sea lions, and great cats, are usually outdoors. To make your walk around the Zoo more enjoyable, comfortable shoes are recommended. The Zoo is set on hilly terrain and some paths are steep.

Find out what's responsible for the Zoo's terrain in "Beneath It All: The Geology of the Zoo."

Avoid the Crowds
We always suggest arriving early in the day, before 10 a.m. or after 2 p.m., when the Zoo is usually less crowded. Weekdays tend to be less crowded than weekends, and fall and winter are less crowded than spring and summer. The Zoo grounds open at 6 a.m. all year round, but the animals you may be most interested in seeing may not be on exhibit until 10 a.m.

Get What You Need
When you arrive at the Zoo, stop at an Information Kiosk, where Information Aides answer questions, rent strollers, sell maps, and offer wheelchairs. The National Zoo Stores sell Fuji film, Fuji Quick-Snap cameras, and a host of souvenirs.

Bring Your Old Cell Phone
Bring your used cell phone to the Zoo's Visitor Center and drop it in the collection box at the front desk. Thanks to a partnership with ECO-Cell, your phone will help FONZ support the National Zoo's mission. more

Other Tips and Suggestions
Learn about other good ideas at Tips for Families Visiting the Zoo.

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